Besides the communications over the headsets, do astronauts hear any other sounds inside their helmets? Do they hear their own breath? Are there any mechanical sounds audible? Does the circulating air generate any sounds?


1 Answer 1


Tom Jones talks about it some in his memoir "Skywalking" when he describes an EVA carried out on shuttle mission STS-98:

  • Inside the airlock when it is pressurized

Through the helmet shell, from the world outside the space suit, came a muted, sporadic tinkling sound, the result of minor collisions between our drifting tools and the airlock walls.

  • During airlock depressurization

...my voice was nearly drowned out by the roar of air escaping through the valve and through the shuttle's thin aluminum hull...The noise began to diminish as the thinning air lost its ability to transmit sound.


As the internal suit pressure stabilized at 4.3 psi, the rush of oxygen from the suit fan dropped to a background whisper: there were now fewer molecules to carry the sound. Comforting thought. My voice took on a lower, rougher pitch, the result of the reduced gas density passing through my larynx.

  • Outside

The whir of the suit fan was now just a whisper tugging at a corner of my awareness.

pp. 286-306

Of course he also heard communications traffic in his headphones as you say in the question.

This is a very detailed description of the sensations of doing an EVA, recommended reading.

I flipped through Jerry Ross's and Clayton Anderson's memoirs also but didn't find any reference to sounds during EVA.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the recommendation, I bought the book. $\endgroup$
    – Bob516
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 3:28

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